cover image The Stolen Book of Evelyn Aubrey

The Stolen Book of Evelyn Aubrey

Serena Burdick. Park Row, $17.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7783-3310-4

Burdick (Find Me in Havana) explores love, loss, and treachery in her luminous multigenerational tale. Seventeen years after the death of Abby Phillips’s mother during the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, Abby discovers a book of poetry by her paternal great-great-grandmother, Evelyn Aubrey, in her maternal grandmother’s underwear drawer. The book also contains a photo of her father, whom she’s never known, and the photo inspires her to search for him. In a parallel narrative set in the 1890s, it seems newlywed Evelyn’s husband, William, a famous novelist, is passionately in love with her—until he starts stealing her work and selling it under his own name. Evelyn feels increasingly powerless and frustrated, and she hatches an ingenious plan to make a new life for herself and get revenge on William. Burdick skillfully alternates between Evelyn’s and Abby’s points of view, illustrating the limitations placed on women around the turn of the 20th century and the deep desire to know about one’s own heritage. The author charms with lyrical prose (“the words shattering inside Abby’s head”) and a well-sketched cast of supporting characters. Readers will be hooked. Agent: Stephanie Delman, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (Nov.)